BRINGING OUT THE BEST IN YOUR BEEF
Only buy steaks that are between 1-1/4 and 1-1/2 inches thick to ensure proper surface browning without overcooking the steak. Choose steaks that are well marbled. Marbling is the white flecks of fat within the muscle that melt into the meat and combines with other natural juices as it cooks to provide superior flavor and juiciness. Always start steaks over a high heat to maximize browning and finish in an oven or a cooler part of the grill. Quality steaks only need a generous seasoning of salt and black pepper.
This cut is a common restaurant offering and is particularly prized for its flavor and tenderness. Other common names are New York strip, shell steak, Kansas City steak, top loin steak, hotel cut steak and ambassador steak. These are T-bone steaks that have been stripped of the choice tenderloin portion.
This beefsteak comes from the beef rib and is one of the most popular, juicy and expensive steaks on the market. Meat from the rib section is tender and fattier and therefore more flavorful than other cuts of beef.
The sirloin is near the rump and is tougher than cuts from the loin or the rib.
The tenderloin is the most tender and expensive cut of meat because it comes from muscles that are rarely used. The elongated muscle can be separated from the bone and sold as a tenderloin roast. Tenderloin cut into pieces becomes filet mignon steaks.
This large steak is one of the most popular types of steaks and comes from the thick end of the short loin containing a T-shaped bone and large piece of tenderloin.
This is a bone-in steak from the short loin with a T-shaped cut that separates the tenderloin section from the larger portion of the top loin. These steaks are not as tender as porterhouse steaks.
Club steaks are triangular and “S cut” from the short loin, next to the rib end.
This is a beefsteak cut from the belly muscles of the cow. Long and flat, the flank steak’s best-known application is London broil. The flank steak is much tougher than loin and rib steaks. Many recipes for flank steak use marinades or braising for tenderization.
The skirt steak is a long, flat cut that is flavorful, but tougher than most other steak cuts. It is most often used to make fajitas.
Minimalism is the key to a great steak. Too many flavors and you mask the true beef flavor. Seasonings that complement the beefy taste are cracked black pepper, green peppercorn and sauces with mustard.
Always brush your grill grates with oil before placing items on grill and brush items going onto grill lightly with oil to minimize sticking and to get better grill marks. Start with a preheated grill and use the 3-second rule. Hold your hand over the heat source at 3 inches above the grate for 3 seconds. If you need to pull away, your heat is correct. Cook your steak 2 to 3 minutes until the marks are well defined. Then, give it a quarter- or half-turn with a pair of tongs to get those beautiful crosshatched lines. After a few minutes, turn it over and cook it to your liking. That rich brown color makes any steak look as delicious as it tastes. To ensure great color, pat your steaks dry with a paper towel and hold off on salty seasonings until the steak is done. Salt draws moisture out of steak and inhibits browning.
Beef round roasts, including the eye round, bottom round and top round roasts, are flavorful and lean cuts of beef. Because of their leanness, beef round roasts should be cooked no further than medium-rare.
Sirloin roasts, including top sirloin and sirloin tri-tip, are also very popular cuts. They’re not quite as tender as some more expensive cuts from the loin, but they make up for it with intense beef flavor. It’s a great roast for beef lovers.
When you want a classic Sunday roast, a pot roast may be what you’re looking for. Pot roasts cook up great when braised, which makes them great for slow cookers. They include cuts such as chuck shoulder and top blade.
Rub meat with a light coating of oil, season and place in a preheated 425°F to 450°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn down to recommended cooking temperature to finish. Lower roasting temperatures make for a better end product with a consistent temperature throughout the meat. When roast is finished, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes so juices settle back into the meat.
Brisket is a beef cut taken from the breast section beneath the first five ribs, behind the fore shank. This is one of the least expensive and least tender cuts of beef, but can be made tender and juicy when cooked low and slow.
Stew meat comes from a portion of the animal that is exercised regularly and is typically cut from chuck, flank and round roasts. Because the meat is very lean it requires long, slow cooking to make it tender.
Consistent size makes a big difference in final results. Consistent pieces make for consistent eating quality in the end product. Always sear stew meat on all sides to maximize flavor. All sides should be a dark mahogany color. Make sure to not overcrowd your pan when browning stew meat. You may need to do this in batches. Always maintain a lazy simmer when stewing to ensure the best eating experience.
Braising is slow-cooking meat in a small amount of water. A perfect temperature for braising is between 180°F and 190°F. On the stovetop, this is considered a low simmer. In the oven 300°F to 325°F is recommended.